Monday, March 19, 2018
Letters To The Editor

North Pinellas letters: Safety Harbor happy to have Matt Spoor back

Professional group censures Safety Harbor city manager for ethics violations | story, April 2

City glad to have Spoor back in job

It was reported that a membership organization called the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) censured Safety Harbor's city manager, Matt Spoor, for leaving a job he took with St. Petersburg after only six weeks there and for interfering in Safety Harbor's attempt to recruit a replacement.

While I respect the fact the ICMA felt the need to do what it did, I'm here to say that as long as I've known and worked with Mr. Spoor, he has done nothing but act in the most professional, dedicated and ethical manner.

When Mr. Spoor was hired by St. Petersburg, it was made clear to him that they were looking for someone who was committed to be with them for a period to greatly exceed two years.

I strongly believe that as soon as Mr. Spoor knew without a doubt that he was not the right person for the job, he had a professional obligation to notify his employer so he could give St. Petersburg the courtesy of finding the right person to fill that position. To have stayed for two years and then moved on to comply with the ICMA's standard would have left St. Petersburg in the difficult situation of having to start over from scratch and to retrain someone else, which would have cost them much more time and money in the long term.

That Mr. Spoor contacted two of the (Safety Harbor) city manager finalists as they were going through the interview process was, in my opinion, a professional courtesy he owed them so they knew his intentions ahead of time.

In summary, the ICMA wanted Mr. Spoor to stay in a job he didn't want. The fact that when the city was presented with the opportunity to get him back, the City Commission chamber was full of supportive citizens, the vote was unanimous and the commission's decision was greeted with a standing ovation speaks volumes more than a report by an organization located in a different state written by someone who has never met him or worked with him.

So on behalf of the entire city, I'd like to say we are all glad to have him here working hard to make Safety Harbor a better place!

Joe Ayoub, Safety Harbor mayor

Professional group censures Safety Harbor city manager for ethics violations | story, April 2

Hed hed

Leave it to a trade group to take a story about a local government official returning to the city he loves to serve and try to turn it into a negative.

When I saw the headline, I immediately asked myself, who is the ICMA and how do they operate? What an education I got!

Without talking to a single city official, the International City/County Management Association receives a complaint, "investigates" it, reaches a decision and sends out a press release announcing its findings. After this is done, it then allows the affected party to appeal.

Wait, no chance to defend yourself or face your accuser or refute the facts? Oh, and they expect you to stay in a job you don't want!

This isn't a trade group, this is a group of bureaucrat bobble heads presiding over an unaccountable kangaroo kabuki court where a person has no chance to defend themselves until after they are sanctioned. No thank you. This ICMA press release and their methods are unworthy of serious discussion.

City Manager Matt Spoor, I know I speak for many Safety Harbor residents when I say we are glad you are back in our city.

Neil Brickfield, Safety Harbor

Hed hed

Recently, I have been seeing that there has been a lot of attention surrounding the legislative proposal pertaining to the Florida High School Athletics Association (FHSAA).

What surprises me the most though, is that there are many people that think this is the first time that the FHSAA has been brought up in the legislative process. Just last year, there were changes made that the FHSAA needed to follow but did not, with complaints coming not only from students but from parents as well. It is no wonder this issue has come back into the light.

There have been multiple accounts in which the FHSAA has been abusing their powers and harassing students while attempting to conduct investigations.

Student rights need to be at the forefront of this issue, not whether or not the FHSAA is being compromised. We need to revert the attention to the students who are the victims of an abusive organization that clearly has no respect for a student's life, home or privacy.

Misty Oudshoff, Clearwater

Pinellas to allow doggy dining | story, April 10

Hed hed

The photo attached to Anna Phillips' story regarding the unanimous vote by the Pinellas County Commission says it all. The dog is sitting in its owner's lap with its feet on the table.

I see this all the time at restaurants in downtown St. Petersburg where these dogs dine. Waiters, eager for a tip to augment their lousy wages, are not going to say anything to the owner. The underpaid have no incentive to tell the idiot with the dog drooling on the table to take their doggy elsewhere.

Martin L. Daugherty, St. Petersburg


Monday’s letters: Protect Floridians’ right to privacy

People push for changes at Constitution hearing | March 14Protect Florida’s right to privacyI attended the Constitution Revision Commission’s public hearing at USF St. Petersburg last week. I was there because I thought it was important to have m...
Published: 03/18/18

Sunday’s letters: Effort to stem pet cruelty pays off

Puppy millsEffort to stem cruelty pays offThank you to everyone who contacted their legislators, and a huge shout-out to the Tampa Bay Times for letting us know that state legislators were considering a bill to eliminate the hard-achieved gains on lo...
Published: 03/17/18

Saturday’s letters: Insurer focused on repairs, not fees

Citizens hit with $12.7M verdict | March 15Insurer’s focus: repairs, not feesCitizens Property Insurance Corp. has spent the past several years making sure that insurance proceeds for sinkhole repairs are used to restore a home and make it whole....
Published: 03/16/18

Friday’s letters: Put young people to work rebuilding infrastructure

Smart way to pay for infrastructure | March 13, commentaryMake rebuilding a youth project Raising gas taxes to pay for infrastructure may not be the best way to go. I suggest we re-invent the old WPA (Works Progress Administration) and draft high...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Thursday’s letters: An alternative for giving: Breadcoin

Panhandling paradox | March 11Innovation in giving: BreadcoinPanhandling is destructive to the donor, panhandler and our community — a guilt trip that erodes personal dignity, respect and self-worth, making the recipient more beholden and entitle...
Published: 03/13/18
Updated: 03/14/18
Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Wednesday’s letters: Daylight bill is bad for business

Daylight saving timeDaylight bill is bad for businessI encourage Gov. Rick Scott to veto the daylight saving time extension bill. It makes no sense. It puts Florida out of sync with the rest of the country. Commerce will be affected. The entire Easte...
Published: 03/13/18

Pasco Letter to the Editor for March 16

Re: Pasco to test roadside recycling | March 9 column Pasco County (and its residents) have financial incentives to recycle, but the participation rate is low. Clearly, Pasco County either needs to make recycling mandatory — by making residents r...
Published: 03/13/18
Tuesday’s letters: Billionaire’s personal agenda

Tuesday’s letters: Billionaire’s personal agenda

Billionaire targeting young voters | March 7Using youths in personal agendaIs anyone surprised that Tom Steyer is using his extreme wealth to support his personal agenda and the liberal agenda of the Democratic Party? His real motive, hidden in h...
Published: 03/12/18
Updated: 03/13/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for March 16

Re: Pasco to test roadside recycling | March 9 columnOur community, Briar Patch, in New Port Richey has really gotten on board with the recycling program. Many homeowners diligently separate garbage from recycling material and place it curbside f...
Published: 03/12/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun limits, maybe; confiscation, never

Gun controlLimits, possibly; seizures, neverThe antigun left-leaning media constantly refers to the "gun lobby" and the National Rifle Association when trying to ban and even take guns away from legitimate owners. They blame organizations for the act...
Published: 03/07/18